How to chat in the Facebook app without downloading Facebook Messenger

The Facebook Inc. logo is displayed in this 2014 photo. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

If you are one of the Facebook users who’s been cranky about Messenger, the new app launched two weeks ago that many users were asked to download it in order to access their Facebook messages on their smartphones, then this is a good news for you.

First noted by the Guardian, there is actually a simple trick for you to to keep accessing your Facebook messages in the main app without having to download the separate Messenger program, which, by the way, still only has a one-star rating in the App Store.

Screenshot of Facebook

Here’s the workaround:

  1. When you get an alert message like the one in the screenshot above saying that messages have moved to Messenger, go ahead and choose to download Messenger.
  2. You will be directed to the App Store or Google Play to download Facebook Messenger.
  3. Begin downloading the app, but stop the download before it finishes.
  4. Go back to your Facebook app, and once again you can find all your messages displayed in the message tab.
Screenshot of Apple's App Store.
Screenshot of Apple’s App Store.

For users like me who have already downloaded Facebook Messenger, you can delete the app and reinstall it — but stop the process before the reinstall finishes. Reopen the Facebook app, and you should have your chats available under the message tab again.

Of course, Facebook may update its app soon to get rid of this loophole. While the workaround may not stay for long, there are other ways to avoid downloading the Messenger app. Some iPhone users may choose to “jailbreak,” a process that allows users to remove certain limitations on iOS  to download additional applications and extensions that aren’t available from Apple’s App Store.

According to the Guardian, iPhone “jailbreakers” have at least one free hack available that can force their Facebook app to ignore the Messenger app and keep chats in the main program.

Users can also use the Facebook mobile Web site to chat with friends, or place a bookmark for the Facebook mobile site on the smartphone’s screen to make it behave similarly to an app, although push notification of messages won’t show up.

Facebook is still in the process of rolling out its Messenger app. It will take several weeks before all Facebook’s mobile phone users are forced to download the separate chat app.

 

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